Wolves: Kang-in Lee their Diogo Jota replacement in waiting?

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Football FanCast

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Wolves’ attempts to replace two of their best players last summer turned into a mess.

Jeff Shi spent over £27m on defensive liability Nelson Semedo and splashed a club-record £35.6m on Fabio Silva to garner only three goals.

On the chalkboard

On paper, these additions looked promising. Semedo had been signed from one of the biggest clubs in world football; Barcelona, while Silva was and still is, the definition of a wonderkid.

However, things haven’t played out well for the Old Gold. Raul Jimenez, Daniel Podence and Pedro Neto have all suffered from significant injuries this term while Adama Traore has one goal since December 2019.

Life has been made all the more difficult by the departing Matt Doherty and Diogo Jota. They accounted for 25% of Wolves’ goals last season and they simply haven’t been replaced.

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Jota has become a shining light for Liverpool and already has a Champions League hat-trick to his name. He has also managed to break up the terrifying trio of Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino. That isn’t easy work but Jota has made it look relatively straightforward.

The Portuguese youngster scored 16 times last term, a number no one in the Wolves side this season has come close to eclipsing. Neto and Ruben Neves are their top scorers during 2020/21 with only five strikes in comparison.

The replacement

Jeff Shi didn’t do a great job of reinvesting the £41m they sold Jota for last summer but he has a chance to amend things in a few months time.

He could do so by bringing South Korean sensation Kang-in Lee to the club. It’s thought that Valencia could offer the attacker to Wolves in a swap deal involving enigmatic forward Rafa Mir.

Mir has done well on loan at Huesca in Spain this term and has 12 La Liga goals for his troubles; more than both Antoine Griezmann and Joao Felix.

However, it wouldn’t be a huge loss if he departed because he’s never actually scored a goal in English football.

While surrendering Mir, they could finally land their Jota replacement.

After all, Lee is a particularly dangerous and tricky individual. Possessing an enormous release clause of £71m, the South Korea international is only 20 but has already been compared to one of the most creative footballers to play the game in David Silva.

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Lee can play on the flanks but also through the middle as an attacking midfielder. He has creativity in abundance and can beat a defender on a frequent basis.

Like Jota, his dribbling is mesmeric. This term, Lee has registered 1.4 dribbles per game and has been fouled on 1.8 occasions per match.

Those numbers are more impressive than Jota who has performed 1.1 successful dribbles each game and has been fouled on 1.1 occasions.

Dubbed an “outstanding talent” by Valencia academy director Luis Vicente Mateo, Lee still needs to work on finding the net more regularly; he has scored just once this term but has four assists to his name.

If he can work on his finishing, then he’d be an astute capture for those at Molineux. He could even replace the attributes that Jota took with him when he left for Merseyside.